Updated on October 27, 2017 – A few hours after releasing its initial response, Google then commented on the Pixel 2 XL's blue tint when looking at the display from an angle. Per Google, "We want to add some info regarding the blue tint that some of you have been asking about. The slight blue tint is inherent in the display hardware and only visible when you hold the screen at a sharp angle. All displays are susceptible to some level of color shift (e.g. red, yellow, blue) when viewing from off angles due to the pixel cavity design. Similar to our choice with a cooler white point, we went with what users tend to prefer and chose a design that shifts blue." Take that as you will.
We've been talking about the Pixel 2 XL for a while now, and over the past few days, our focus has been on the phone's display. Two main issues that people have with it are dull or unsaturated colors, and burn-in where the navigation bar lies. Google said that it was "actively investigating" these complaints on October 23, and now just a few days later, we have an official response from the company outlining its plans to address the recent uproar from critics and consumers alike.
New 'saturated' mode
First off, one of the critiques that some people have with the Pixel 2 XL's display isn't a defect at all: its color calibration. As we've stated before, Google calibrated the phone's panel with a DCI-P3 profile that shows more accurate colors that are truer to life than what you'll see with some other phones that are focused on being more saturated.
Google already offers a "Vivid mode" that increases the saturation of the display by 10% so that colors are more vibrant, but as anyone that owns a Pixel 2 XL knows, this is an extremely marginal change that really doesn't make any discernable difference.
Saturated mode will make the Pixel 2 XL's display look more like the 2016 Pixel XL's.
To address concerns, a software update will soon be coming to the Pixel 2 XL (and regular Pixel 2) that'll add a new "Saturated" mode. It's unclear how much of a percentage increase in vibrancy this will be, but Google says that this will make the screen look similar to that of the first-gen Pixels with more saturation at the expense of color accuracy.
This is something we were expecting to happen, but having a final word from Google itself that more saturated colors are on the way should come as good news to a lot of our readers. Options are always good.
Attempting to reduce burn-in
We've seen reports (and on our own phones) of pretty aggressive screen burn-in on the Pixel 2 XL over the past few days, and we knew that this was something that couldn't be resolved solely through software.
As part of its defense, Google addresses the fact that all OLED panels show signs of burn-in and image retention over their lifetime — the question is how fast it happens and how "bad" it is. And once again, Google says it's "actively investigating" the reports of burn-in that it's received. However, this is then expanded with the following statement:
Extensive testing of the Pixel 2 XL display show that its decay characteristics are comparable to OLED panels used in other premium smartphones. The differential aging should not affect the user experience of the phone, as it's not visible under normal use of your Pixel 2 XL.
That may come as either good news or bad news depending on how badly you perceive the burn-in we've seen so far on the Pixel 2 XL, but nonetheless Google is attempting to remedy (or mitigate) this as much as possible through software. Google is currently playing around with a future software update that will do several things, including fade out the navigation bar after a certain amount of inactivity and reduce the maximum brightness level by 50 nits (an amount imperceivable to the human eye, Google says). The company is also working with app developers so that a white navigation bar can be used in place of a black one to help cut down on possible burn-in even further.
It remains to be seen how these software tricks actually work in the real world, but a solution is still better than nothing at all.
More peace of mind
Following the onslaught of complaints the Pixel 2 XL has received recently, Google will also now include a two-year warranty with every Pixel 2 and 2 XL that's sold. Having an added year of protection is a really nice touch, especially considering that – according to Google – nothing was really wrong in the first place.
What do you think?
Now that we have an official response from Google, what do you think? If you were on the fence about the Pixel 2 XL, does this response make you more inclined to buy the phone? Let us know in the comments below!
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